|Publication Type:||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication:||2012|
|Authors:||M. Christodoulou, Antoniou, A., Magoulas, A., Koukouras, A.|
Atyaephyra de Brito Capello, 1867 was described from the Mediterranean region almost 200 years ago. Since then, the genus has been recorded from various freshwater habitats in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Despite its long history, the taxonomic status of Atyaephyra species remains confusing and uncertain. Consequently numerous specimens from the known range of Atyaephyra were analysed using morphological characters and mitochondrial COI sequences in an attempt to clarify the taxonomy of this genus. The present study recognises seven Atyaephyra species, more than twice as many as previously recorded (three), four of which are considered as new. The new species are described, additional information to the original descriptions are provided for the remaining three taxa, while neotypes of A. desmarestii Millet, 1831 and A. stankoi Karaman, 1972 are designated to stabilize their taxonomy. Non-overlapping distinguishing morphological characters are used to discriminate the examined material into five species, e.g., A. desmarestii, A. stankoi, A. orientalis Bouvier, 1913, A. thyamisensis sp. n., A. strymonensis sp. n. In addition, the genetic analysis supports the existence of multiple phylogenetic clades in the broader Mediterranean area and distinguishes two new cryptic species, namely A. tuerkayi sp. n. and A. acheronensis sp. n. The geographic distribution of these species is confirmed and their phylogenetic relationships are described.